Pi's pretty cool


Tahija takes her math final today. This is the third time she's taken math. It's the one course that remains between her and her first ever academic degree - the Associates. I've been on the phone with her all week, dredging up my very limited math skills. But what she needed more than my skill was my encouragement. To walk through the harder problems with her, complain with her, as we used to do about social workers, nurses, teachers -- any officials she felt were in her way. The complaining is a kind of venting, and me complaining with her is a way of being an ally. Then comes celebration, when she gets a tough problem. And in between all this is the boys coming and going, Jamarr, Jamarr's friends. I'm amazed she can get any studying done. She worked yesterday from 6 am till evening. She wants to pass this class. She says she'll give up if she fails, and I believe she will.

I think she'll pass the final. I helped yesterday with basic geometry, looking things up on line (to review and in some cases learn). The good old Pythagorean theorem still works, and I still don't know how to find the square root of a number, besides guestimating and then multipying till I come to it (as I remembered doing on tests, knowing there was an easier way). And Pi is quite elegant. Good to know there really are a few constants in the world. In the universe.

Tahija complains that she'll never need any of this stuff "so why do I got to learn it?" Of course she will need it, has already, and the process is also a product. She can't deny the satisfaction she felt in working out a difficult problem, the confidence it engendered. And I don't know about her, but it reassures me, seems a shadow of the Divine, that the ratio of every and any circle's circumference to its radius is 3.14... No matter what, no matter where.

We need constants in this life, especially ones we can measure.